Richard Obert
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 12, 2008 12:00 AM

When Hannah Carson arrived at the University of Arizona's track last month with her javelin, collegians asked what school she attended.

Rhodes Junior High, she said.

No way.


Carson, who turned 15 in January and is a ninth grader in Mesa, won the javelin throw against the grown-ups at the Willie Williams Classic, competing unattached with the Arizona Cheetahs club program.

Her mark of 50.52 meters (165 feet, 9 inches) beat the throw by Brigham Young University's Sarah Lancaster, who was second at 46.83 meters.

Carson will compete today against the college women at Arizona State in the Sun Angel Classic. Field events begin at 10 a.m., running events at 2 p.m., with featured invitational events at 7 p.m..

The javelin is not sanctioned as a high school event in Arizona because it is considered too dangerous. Carson - who plays softball for her junior high, throws shot and discus and does the jumps and hurdles - alternates meets between her junior high and Mesa Dobson High.

She takes advantage of any opportunity to launch the javelin.

It's pretty cool, she said of beating the older girls, considering she's lucky to get one day a week to practice the javelin because of her busy schedule.

Her father, Steve Carson, the boys track coach at Chandler High, said that as talented as his 5-foot-4, 135-pound daughter is, she still is a little girl who likes to have fun.

When he tried to get her in the weight room two years ago, Steve said she got kicked out because she was laughing.

She wanted to have fun, Steve said. She got yelled at. The coach said, 'Once you get serious, you come back.'

She has qualified for the Olympic Trials in June, but that will be the end of her javelin competition for the summer.

Even if she qualifies, she is not old enough to compete in the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing.

It's disappointing, but I've still got 2012, she said.

Carson set a national youth division record last summer at the Junior Olympics on her last heave of 173-7.

It was a bomb, Steve Carson said. Jerry Rice would have loved that pass. My father is a military guy, and he said it looked like a howitzer.

The national high school record is 176-5.

Carson ranks second in the state among high school girls in the shot put (40-2 1/2), discus (132-2) and long jump (18- 3/4) and is tied for third in the high jump (5-2).

Mostly, she likes just being a junior-high athlete.

She's a great kid to have around, Rhodes Junior High track coach Kris Johnson said.